December seems to be the month many traditions are carried out, not only because of religious beliefs, but also because the kids are out of school and there are statutory holidays so most everyone has a few days off work to gather with friends and family. And, of course, the retailers remind us daily starting in November, that the gift giving season is upon us.
So, what is a tradition anyway? By definition, it includes customs, stories or beliefs that are handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth or actions.
Traditions that young and old have enjoyed over the years: the unveiling of The Bay downtown windows (and prior to that Eaton’s and Simpsons). The Santa Claus Parade. Work and personal holiday parties. Boxing day shopping! A quick survey of the staff at Mosaic Home Care revealed many traditions during the holidays, but mostly being with family and friends and eating food. LOTS of food. The phrase ‘food coma’ was mentioned several times.
A French tradition celebrated in Quebec and New Brunswick (and Belgium, France and Brazil) is Revellion. Every year, occurring the night before either Christmas and after attending Midnight Mass there is a feast that lasts long in to the night. The dinner is based on the word Reveil (waking) because participation requires staying awake long into the night.
It is not unusual to hear of families sharing stories about cooking and baking with grandparents and treasuring the ‘secret family recipes’ that have been passed down. It is wonderful to have hand-written recipes from relatives in the lovely script for those that were taught cursive handwriting. What will happen to future generations with technology? Printed recipes, while still meaningful, just aren’t quite the same.
More recent traditions for families and individuals may be to volunteer to help those less fortunate. It could be helping with serving a meal at a community shelter or agency, perhaps helping to wrap gifts at a senior’s residence, or for those who are creative, making a gift and donating it to those in need.
At Mosaic, we are working on our Twiddlemuff project. We are hoping to have enough knitted or crocheted twiddlemuffs to provide to seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia a gift to open. We want them to rip off the colourful wrapping paper just like they did when they were young. Maybe scrunch the paper in to a ball and listen to the sound and feel the texture of the paper. And then to put their hands in to a warm muff. And, surprise, there are objects to twiddle inside the muff! This keeps busy hands engaged and helps calm an otherwise agitated person.
Traditions build relationships and help people feel included. And, they can happen at any time throughout the year. What are your family traditions? Will you make new ones in the coming year to reflect the changes in your life? Perhaps mailing a handwritten card is a tradition to start or return to. And, of course, calling those whom we have not spoken to all year for a few good laughs and catch-up.
At Mosaic tradition is our Annual Holiday Celebration! Join us and our entertainer ‘One Man Big Band’ on December 20th from 10:00 am to 12noon at The Shops on Steeles & 404. RSVP requested.
Traditions. Such a wonderful thing!
Written by: Dina Campeis, Community Relations Manager, Mosaic Home Care Services & Community Resource Centres
For more information about Mosaic Home Care, our Twiddlemuff project or our Annual Holiday Celebration, please call 905.597.7000 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org